Moving to Joy

This morning, Holly, who cares for her husband, joined me for our monthly discussion on Table Talk. You listen to our show via the player, below.

Holly and I picked up this month where we left off last month: Can you have joy in a tough experience like caregiving? During our conversation, Holly referenced the Abraham Hicks emotional scale, which you see below (thanks so much to ejourneys for finding this):

Holly shared a quote from a book she’s reading, Man’s Search for Meaning, written by Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor: “One could make a victory of those experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate, as did a majority of the prisoners.” (Note: I’ve added Man’s Search for Meaning as a pick for our Caregiving Book Club; you can learn more about our picks here and join our group here.)

During our discussion, Holly shared that the journey to joy happens regularly for her. She had many difficult moments lat week, which means she works through her anger and despair to having a moment of joy. During tough moments, when she feels like life will never be better, Holly asks herself three questions:

1. Is it true?

2. What do I want to think about now?

3. What do I want to do now?

Her three questions move her into a healthier perspective and then into action. Often, in the action, she can find her joy.

What do you think about the possibility of joy in your caregiving experience? Please share your thoughts in our comments section, below.


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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

2 thoughts on “Moving to Joy

  1. Avatar of ejourneysejourneys

    Two big lessons for me:
    1. When I am unable to do what used to bring me joy, I can find a substitute that is simpler and requires less of me.
    2. The better I can accept my limitations, the better I am able to work around them.

    For example, I derive a lot of my joy from creativity, but different kinds of creativity use different energies. One writing project requires a lot of emotional work and concentration that I am often unable to give, and I would be extremely frustrated if that were my only project. I’ve got another project that is more fun, but is still sufficiently challenging to engage my passion. Photography uses different energies altogether, and it attunes me more to the world around me. Writing gives me active joy. Photography falls between active and passive joy.

    Listening to music, escaping into a book, or sharing quality time with the two adorable squirrel kits growing up in the space between my window and hurricane shutter constitute passive joy, where I am on the receiving end. Being able to share that — especially when it comes to nature — with my partner brings joy to both of us, combined with the joy of companionship.

    Looking at the Hicks scale, it occurs to me that I can be on several different levels at once, and I see the same thing in my partner.

  2. Trish


    Your programs with Holly are always delightful. I can’t wait to catch up and listen to this one as it sounds like there will be quite a few nuggets of wisdom in it!


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